Trivia and True Progress

Wikipedia suggests that a giant tortoise moves slowly at 0.17 miles per hour. The fastest recorded speed is 5 miles per hour. There is a running track around the periphery of Bingham. As I made my way round it for the third time during a regular fitness attempt, I became convinced that the school giant tortoises are certainly of the faster variety. I was surprised by one tortoise’s exceptional progress each time I passed.

Seble our faithful house worker was telling me how she came to look after a new born baby for twenty days shortly before we met her. She has a friend who went to a local hospital for a Caesarean section. The friend was sent home, but shortly afterwards began to swell. The girl returned to hospital and a further operation revealed she still had a swab inside her. Her baby was taken to Seble. She describes how neighbours wanted to help - one bought clean water, whilst others bought milk powder or nappies. Each one had virtually nothing to give, living in corrugated iron housing in very poor circumstances, but true to their culture they shared what they could and gave their time and support.

I presented the Bible story to the local Tesfye Birhan girls, this week (through an interpreter). After we played a game together I took a group of the youngest ones to a separate room so I could teach them some English words at the appropriate Grade level. We gave them crayons and they were intrigued to try out the different shades. Their colouring skills lacked finesse but this may be because they only use pencils in their government schools. They told us they learn English, maths, science and Amharic. They only get to draw diagrams in science. There are 68 pupils per class!

Before I left the UK I was telling people about RICE (Reach International Centre for Education). This is a project that began three years ago. The aim was to start a new school for Ethiopians here in Addis. As a friend has been involved, I have followed progress with interest. The new school will target middle income groups. Hopefully it will entice those who have gained skills abroad back to Ethiopia, drawn by the quality education that RICE will be able to provide for their children. There have been many false starts, not least when obtaining a government business license. The latest news is that after much searching a building has been located for rent in a suitable location. The cost will be £1775 per month. So assessment for admissions may begin in as little as three weeks, and the school will be staffed by Ethiopians who will be trained ‘in house’. The pupils will be charged fees to attend. It is so exciting when a project comes to fruition despite the unique challenges encountered here.


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